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The Great Divergence - Decline of the Middle Class

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posted on Sep, 19 2007 @ 06:41 PM
This is from here:

The great divergence: Since the late 1970s the America I knew has unraveled. We’re no longer a middle-class society, in which the benefits of economic growth are widely shared: between 1979 and 2005 the real income of the median household rose only 13 percent, but the income of the richest 0.1% of Americans rose 296 percent.

Most people assume that this rise in inequality was the result of impersonal forces, like technological change and globalization. But the great reduction of inequality that created middle-class America between 1935 and 1945 was driven by political change; I believe that politics has also played an important role in rising inequality since the 1970s. It’s important to know that no other advanced economy has seen a comparable surge in inequality – even the rising inequality of Thatcherite Britain was a faint echo of trends here.

On the political side, you might have expected rising inequality to produce a populist backlash. Instead, however, the era of rising inequality has also been the era of “movement conservatism,” the term both supporters and opponents use for the highly cohesive set of interlocking institutions that brought Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich to power, and reached its culmination, taking control of all three branches of the federal government, under George W. Bush. (Yes, Virginia, there is a vast right-wing conspiracy.)

this is a great, and comprehensive article that kicks off Paul Krugman's Blog. It's not very lengthy, and well worth the read. Also includes a great chart for a better idea.

As for discussion - I don't have much to compare anything to, as I was born well after the New Deal, and a bit after this "Great Divergence." I can certainly say that after reading this, I am interested in reading more. Apparently he wrote an entire book on this subject (and more, I am guessing):

as always, i went right to the 1-star reviews (only 2, in 5 years) and got a decent idea of what it may be about. One review said all feel-good, no meat and potatoes. Sounds pretty common, but I am still intrigued by what this really means, and whether or not it will be addressed anytime soon. I don't remember this ever coming up in a political debate as a hot topic. Seems like it should, as it affects the majority, in every definition of the word.

[edit on 19-9-2007 by scientist]

posted on Sep, 20 2007 @ 09:43 PM
I am anti a lot of things, but I am not Anti-American.

I feel it necessary to state this before commenting, in case someone has read my general critical views on the present world situation.

This OP deserves some attention as it touch down the root to how things has come this far: the impoverishment of the American Middle Class. I'm a Euro but it's coming our way too.

I have been following this development from fear through hope to dispair for half a century, and now I'm getting too old to have personal fears, but I do fear for the generations to come, just by looking at this graph.

I myself have found great heros in Americans, though lately there's been a severe lack of them, IMO.

Without start biggering about "the best presidents" I do find it notable looking at this graph from your link, that the heydays of the middleclass was between FDR's term untill the start of Ronald Reagan.


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